“JUDGE NOT” – that partial scripture is probably quoted more often than John 3:16. But almost no one completes the verse – “…For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…” If I want to be judged with kid gloves, I’d better judge my brother with kid gloves.
This bit about not judging has allowed a ridiculous standard of behavior to become accepted among Christian Americans! Watching movies with four-letter words, sunbathing in a 3/4 inch bikini strip (OK, so I exaggerate a little. I raise that to a 2 inch strip), preaching a love message without repentance, claiming deductions that are “iffy,” wearing three-caret rings and $5,000 watches, dancing parties for 12 year-olds, coming before God with praise and dirty hands, honoring the wearing of tattoos, bearing the pain of 5 inch heels (they are sooo sexy), divorcing because you are “no longer in love,” well, you get where I’m coming from!
Jesus said for us to take care of the plank in our own eyes “and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Isn’t it odd that he did not tell us to take care of own eyes and leave our brother’s eye alone? We have an obligation to others when they are moving in ways that will hurt them. That requires some judging – or maybe “evaluating” sounds better.
One of the gifts of the Spirit is discernment—which I would expect would require some judging. We are told that we will recognize each other by our love. Does that require judging? We are told not to associate with sinful brothers. Does that require judging? We are told to go to our brother and warn him when we see him in error. Does that require judging?
BUT, we are only to judge those inside the church, not outside the church (I Cor. 5:12). May God bless us with pastors who care enough to warn us against encroaching, insidious evil, even if it is dressed as love and tolerance!
Ouch! Excuse me, you all, while I go get this plank out of my eye.